As the 2016-17 school year comes to a close, I like to look back and see all that we have accomplished together here at Collier County Public Schools (CCPS).
The end of the year is an extremely special time for students, especially our graduating seniors. Before our more than 2,700 graduates walked across the stage and received their diplomas, seniors were celebrated throughout the district. Last year, graduation walks were held at two local elementary schools. High school seniors donned their caps and gowns and walked throughout their former elementary schools, receiving wild cheers and applause from primary students. Seeing the excitement from both sets of students, the district expanded this program to include even more schools. It is my hope that seniors are celebrated and our young students are inspired to see what their future could hold.
Another new way we celebrated seniors this year is Academic Signing Days. Athletic Signing Day is probably one of the most important days for student athletes. There’s a sense of pride that comes with signing that letter of intent for your future school and being honored for it. In the same vein, we wanted to honor our highest student achievers. Seniors receiving scholarships to their future college or university were recognized during this first-time event. Each high school had a unique flair to their day. I look forward to seeing this program grow in the future.
The end of the school year is when academic competitions really rev up. As we continue our goal to add more academic challenges for students, we celebrate the accomplishments they have achieved. Recently, student “matheletes” returned for the second year of the Elementary Math Challenge. After the success of the Elementary event the district hosted its first-ever Middle School Math Competition for sixth graders. The annual STEAM Competition brought excitement with the same great events, plus a new VEX Road Trip event for middle schools. Student filmmakers wowed the judges and myself with their digital stories at the Student iFilm Festival. A new business winner was chosen at the annual Entrepreneurship Innovation Competition, plus many other individual awards. Nothing brings me more joy than seeing our students achieve!
During the second half of the school year, the district attained great things as well. I am so proud to say that Collier County Public Schools (CCPS) was recommended for full AdvancED Accreditation. The District welcomed an External Review Team from AdvancED, an international agency accrediting over 34,000 schools and school systems. The 10-person team (five team members from Florida and five team members from outside Florida) spent four weeks reviewing approximately 10,000 artifacts as well as survey results from 32,000 stakeholders prior to conducting an on-site External Review. The team spoke with 382 individuals during the four-day visit including parents, community members, school, and District staff. This is certainly a testament to our phenomenal students, teachers, administrators, support staff, parents, community members, and business partners.
I wish you all a phenomenal summer. I look forward to seeing you back in August!
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